Robin Hood Project: COVID-19 Response
Robin Hood Project: COVID-19 Response
25th March, 2020
Finance firms, including those in the FinTech sector, get a bad rap from time to time. New York’s “Robin Hood Foundation”, effectively the charitable wing of the Hedge Fund industry, tries to provide a counterbalance.
In that vein, it has dawned on us just how interconnected the Options team is with the health service in Belfast, London and New York. The same goes for other groups that are now frontline such as teachers. As a group, we have partners, family members and friends putting themselves at risk in hospitals right across the world.
As a firm we are extremely proud of what we achieved in March 2020. We got in front of the crisis ourselves, migrated our entire global client base to working from home (ahead of government restrictions), and ran the platform without a notable glitch.
That said, when talking with the team yesterday there was a sense of emptiness. Simply put, many of us felt the need to step up and do something to help those on the frontlines of this crisis. We know that any contribution we make will pale in significance to that of just one respiratory team but we feel the time is right to see what we can do to help our friends and family on the frontlines.
First and foremost, prevention is better than cure. The very best way to help protect frontline workers is simply to #stayathome to slow the spread of the virus. We have been leaders on this front and have given more than a few nudges to our peers in this respect. Allowing people to work from home, closing non-critical businesses and eliminating business travel really does move the needle.
Next, we wanted to figure out where we could apply our unique strengths to help. And the more we thought about it, the more we came to see that perhaps our unique strengths are in listening to people, as we would our customers.
As a result, we had everyone in Options with a contact in the health service simply ask what the people on the frontlines need. What were the little things that could make a big difference?
Obviously, scrubs, PPE and respirators were at the top of every list, but we quickly found that there were lots of easy wins too:
- Hand cream (we all know why)
- Food and drink (lunches)
- Healthy snacks
- Toiletries / shampoo / shower gel
- Transport to & from work at awkward hours
- Plastic chairs (that can be wiped down between shifts)
- Hand sanitiser
- Support at home for childcare
- iPads / IT to allow remote consultations
- Flexible, “quarantined” accommodation for rest between shifts
- Laptops allowing staff to work from home when quarantined
The childcare one really stood out. The point was raised by two separate consultants whose husbands can’t currently look after their young children because they were forced to go to work under threat of the sack. A perspective for everyone who runs what they see as a “critical” business.
Yesterday we made a start and provided the following:
- We opened up Options’ FonaCab account to Mater hospital staff to use to get to and from work
- We delivered 20 Pizzas to Northern Ireland’s designated Coronavirus hospital, the Mater Hospital
- We delivered boxes of cookies, buns and doughnuts to the Mater Hospital
- We ordered 60 day shift lunches through a local sandwich shop to be delivered to the Mater on a daily basis for the next two weeks
- We ordered 60 night shift lunches through a local sandwich shop to be delivered to the Mater on a daily basis for the next two weeks
- We ordered plastic chairs for ProParamedics ambulance crews
- We ordered plastic chairs for North Middlesex University Hospital NHS staff
- We began working with O’Neills on providing trainers for A&E staff
- And we ordered much-needed toiletries, sanitary ware & gloves to Altnagelvin Area Hospital
We have set up a JustGiving page to support these efforts. If anyone knows of any other ways we can help, or if any other companies would like to collaborate, please get in touch by contacting us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
– Danny Moore, President & CEO